Differentiating between therapeutic PEMFs and harmful EMFs

Dr. Pawluk explains how exposure time, frequency, and intensity all relate and help shape what differentiates a good vs bad emf is.

One of the most common concerns for people considering the value of pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy is its association with the negative effects of other man-made environmental magnetic fields (EMF) in the environment and the so-called “electro-smog” they create. Before we discuss all the beneficial effects of therapeutic PEMF devices, I first want to address this common reservation.

There are many differences between harmful EMFs and the therapeutic EMFs generated by PEMF devices. Magnetic frequencies and waveforms will either amplify or diminish the body’s own signals. Harmful EMFs negatively affect the body’s natural functions while therapeutic EMFs act in supportive ways, enhancing cellular communication and overall health. The balance or “homeostasis” of the human organism can easily be negatively affected by electromagnetic changes in the environment, and an unbalanced body is more susceptible to disease. EMFs interact with living systems, affecting enzymes related to cell division and multiplication, growth regulation, and regulation of the sleep hormone melatonin (controlled by the pineal gland metabolism), among many other effects.

The primary differences between harmful and therapeutic EMFs are exposure time, wavelength, and frequency.


The types of EMFs of possible concern present in these findings have significantly shorter wavelengths and higher frequencies than therapeutic PEMFs. The electromagnetic spectrum is vast, encompassing all possible wavelengths and frequencies, including X-rays, microwaves, radio waves, visible light, and infrared.

Practically speaking, for therapeutic PEMF magnetic field applications, the electromagnetic spectrum is very narrow, mostly in the extremely low-frequency (ELF) range. The goal of a PEMF system is to produce a magnetic field that will not only be supportive to the body’s natural functions, but also to use wavelengths that will go all the way through the body. This requires long wavelengths and low frequencies.


Here are some examples of common high frequency sources: radar – from 1,300 to 1,600 MHz; most microwave applications fall in the range 3,000 to 30,000 MHz (3-30 GHz); microwave ovens – 2.4 GHz; amateur and radio navigation uses 3-30 GHz. VHF television Channels 2-4 – 54 to 72 MHz; VHF TV channels 5 and 6 are between 76-88 MHz; FM radio and VHF television Channels 6 and 7 are from 88-108 MHz; cell phone frequencies from 824-1990 MHz; WiFi from 900 MHz to 60 GHz bands.

Using PEMFs to help protect against harmful EMFs

Another option has been to use a more active radiant source of frequencies with PEMF signals. One such example is the Harmony USB device. This little device is plugged into a USB port and emits the average Schumann resonance of 7.8Hz, modulated with a frequency of 1.2Hz. The field intensity of the HarmonyUSB is around 10 microtesla (0.1 gauss). Treatment time is continuous as long as the USB is plugged into a powered device. Since people sit around their computers and laptops for hours a day, having this harmonizing low intensity signal is expected to help and to dampen the stress responses of the body to the EMFs emitted by the computer and surrounding EMFs as well, to some extent.

For  more information on this topic, please read my blog THERAPEUTIC PEMF VERSUS HARMFUL EMF